Napier: India put their top spot in the world one-day international rankings on the line in a five-match series starting here on Sunday against a New Zealand side fired up by new-found self-belief.
Indian skipper MS Dhoni will look to roll on in Kiwiland. Pic/Getty Images
And skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni ruled out experimenting too much with his settled team in the series but said the five-match rubber should serve as a good exposure to some of his players before the World Cup.
“We will see what suits us best and then we will move ahead. As of now, after the Greg Chappell era, experimentation is something we have done away with. We don’t really change too many things anymore.
We will give chances to a few players and hopefully they will rise up to the occasion and accept the challenges that they are pushed into,” Dhoni said.
Dhoni added: “It’s good exposure for our players who have not played in New Zealand before. In the bowling department particularly, there are some new additions to the squad.
Wind will be a factor here and when you are exposed to different conditions, you work hard on your game. “So it will be a good experience for them.
In turn, it will be good for the team because we will have players who have already played in these conditions and particularly at venues where we will be playing the 2015 World Cup. So it should be a good tour for us.”
The Indian team arrived in New Zealand almost a full week ahead of the first ODI and it gave them ample time to reflect on the conditions here and prepare for the month-long trip comprising of five ODIs and two Tests.
“Our preparation has been good. We were given very good facilities. The ground where we practiced, Nelson Park, we were given a centre wicket which was good practice. Net bowlers were also made available to us.
We have also looked into each and every aspect of our game, not only batting and bowling, but also fielding because it will play a vital role,” Dhoni pointed out.
One more dismissal behind the stumps and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will become the first Indian and only the fourth wicketkeeper in the world to claim 300 or more dismissals. Adam Gilchrist (472), Mark Boucher and Kumar Sangakkara (424 each) are the other players to accomplish this ODI feat.
Three more wickets will help Tim Southee complete hundred wickets in ODIs. In 74 matches he has taken 97 wickets at a rate of 31.80 and at an economy rate of 5.16
Four more wickets and Ravichandran Ashwin will get to hundred victims in his ODI career. In 70 games so far, he has claimed 96 wickets at an average of 32.23 and economy rate of 4.93
Number of Indian players from the current squad to have played in New Zealand prior to this tour. They are skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, middle order batsmen Suresh Raina (5 matches each), Rohit Sharma and medium pace bowler Ishant Sharma
(2 matches each)